Private Preview: Bamboo Bones and Scarlet Ribbons


Note: You’re reading a sneak preview of one week in a book of daily meditations, affirmations, and inspiration. Each week features a story or reflection which connects the smaller readings for each day.

Each day you could expand your experience by

  1. Journalling your thoughts about it
  2. Sharing a related story with someone
  3. Making art related to that day’s reading
  4. Meditating for 5 minutes on the theme
  5. Finding a related touchstone (stone, ribbon, or other simple talisman)

Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Please feel free to leave me a comment below, or email me and let me know your thoughts… Claire

Bamboo Bones and Scarlet Ribbons

I'm fascinated by bamboo. It can be used for building and construction, the shoots (properly prepared) can be eaten, it's used in Chinese medicine, and it can be made into yarn, paper, weapons, and musical instruments.

In Philippine mythology, one of the more famous creation accounts tells of the first human couple, Malakás ("Strong"), and Maganda ("Beautiful"), who emerged from the two halves of a split bamboo stem on an island formed after the battle between Sky and Ocean.

I once worked in a wonderful place which had a large, indoor butterfly house. In one bright corner of the enormous glass conservatory we grew a small stand of bamboo. Each morning we tied a scarlet ribbon on the main stalk, so that school children could measure how much the bamboo had grown during the day. They were continually surprised and delighted, for our bamboo grew several inches every single day.

You are made with bamboo bones; you are formed for so many gifts and purposes, and you ache to grow into them.

MONDAY: Reflections on “Strong” and “Beautiful”

Allow yourself to sink into the story-myth of Malakás (“Strong”), and Maganda (“Beautiful”), the human couple born from a bamboo stem after an elemental war.

  • Why is it that new things are often born after a great battle?
  • How do you envision yourself as emotionally and physically strong?
  • How do you envision yourself as emotionally and physically beautiful?
  • Does one of those two parts seem to be larger than the other within you?


TUESDAY: Affirmations for growth

green mandalaToday and every day I do things that stretch me.

I push my roots deep into the earth, and am sustained by creative, nourishing energy.

Today I release old habits and blaze new trails; feelings of fear do not stop me.

I am learning new lessons, expanding my awareness, and developing my abilities.

This week I am breaking new ground in my life and it feels great!


WEDNESDAY: Seeking purpose

As bamboo is put to so very many uses, so you too are formed flexing to fit different needs.

  • What are the main purposes of your life today? This week? This year?
  • If you were to choose from among bamboo’s purposes (construction, beauty, food, medicine, art, war, music), which would you choose for yourself, just for today?


THURSDAY: Celebrate the rains

It’s a simple fact that in order to grow, plants need rain. I struggle with this when I don’t like how gloomy and dark – even frighteningly stormy – my corner of the world turns when it rains.

And yet I know the value of this powerful resource for cleansing, for lubricating, for chemistry and transportation… Water is an essential part of our body, even.

How can you calm your struggling, and celebrate the emotional and physical rain in your life today?


FRIDAY: The gifts in your cells

pink lotusI spent a few years working with kids with special needs. Most of the children I worked and played with were learning disabled, and nearly all of them had a physical challenge as well. Like bamboo, they were deeply interesting and unique in their many abilities.

Possibly the biggest thing I learned during those years was that everyone has gifts to give to the world, right down to the ways our physical bodies work. Not everyone communicates in words. Not everyone walks or runs like I can. And yet there is great beauty in each human, right down to their cells.

  • How are you different?
  • How are your differences gifts in the world?


SATURDAY: A quiet rustle of growth

I loved the sounds of the butterfly house where I worked. It was quiet in a most unique way. And yet there were thousands of butterflies, and bamboo growing at an amazing rate. It grew so fast I imagined I could hear it…

Settle yourself into a quiet space to imagine the sound of growth…

  • Can you hear the butterflies emerging from their chrysalises, sipping at the edge of a mud puddle, moving from leaf to leaf?
  • Can you feel the quiet rustle of growing bamboo, tied with red ribbons and stretching toward the sun?


SUNDAY: Your scarlet ribbons

red ribbonDo you make a practice of measuring your emotional and spiritual growth?

Think of the red ribbon tied on the trunk of the bamboo: at the end of the day it is four or five inches higher than it was in the morning.

What markers can you use to measure your own growth? Here are some scarlet ribbons for you to consider…

  • You make fewer excuses.
  • You don’t spend most of your time “looking back”.
  • You laugh more (even at yourself).
  • You don’t compare yourself with others.
  • You take some risks.
  • Your actions and your words match better.
  • You lift others up.
  • You discipline yourself to meet your goals.
  • You see things in perspective.

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